February 19, 2012

Filthy Review - The Dead

The Dead (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

The zombie movie, when done well, can be a beautiful thing to behold. There is something quite poetic about the apocalyptic nature of these movies, something that taps into our psyche and forces us to question what we would do in a similar situation. Alas, the bad heavily outnumber the good, just as the undead outnumber the living in most of these movies.

Once in a while though a gem emerges through the rubble that reaffirms the love I do have for this sub-genre. I don’t believe budget has anything to do with the quality of a good zombie flick, in fact some of my favorites have virtually no budget. They are however seemingly ripe for the picking for the talentless, who seem to think that a zombie movie is an easy route to take when starting out in film.

The Dead is the latest zombie film to join the fray, and one that has come with a considerable amount of buzz surrounding it. Mind you, that could just be the flies feasting on the dead flesh. I’m not one to really worry about whether a movie has this so-called “buzz” about it, I just want to watch decent flicks. If I was worried about it I would have reviewed it way before now.

This English movie, directed by the Brothers Ford (Howard J. and Jonathan), takes the novel approach of setting the film, and indeed lensing it, in the sweltering heat of Burkina Faso and Ghana on the great continent of Africa. Upon first hearing about this I was a little apprehensive, but I needn’t have been, as it works wonderfully. In a continent that is constantly ravaged by death, both inflicted by man and nature, it is the perfect place to set a movie in which death is everywhere.

The plot to The Dead is classic zombie faire and it shouldn’t surprise you when I tell you that it concerns the main characters trying to get from Point A to Point B. In this case we follow Lt. Brian Murphy, an Engineer in the US Armed Forces, who’s plane crashed whilst trying to evacuate and is now trying to make it out and back to his family. Joining him is Sgt. Daniel Dembebe, who serves in the native Armed Forces, who himself is trying to find his son.

So, what we get is plenty of traveling, mainly by car, a hell of a lot of zombie interference and the occasional stop-off to either rescue someone, fix something or find something. It really isn’t the most inspiring plot ever committed to film, but it is in the execution that it succeeds so well. The movie is absolutely beautiful to look at, especially on the Blu-ray version I watched, with the African scenery used to perfection. The mixture of practical effects and CGI effects work incredibly well, with the gore scenes, of which there are many, looking incredible. I have no idea what the budget was for The Dead, but it would appear that every penny was well spent. Well, almost all of it as I was a little disappointed that the lead role of Murphy was played only adequately by Rob Freeman. He never seems at ease with his dialogue and gets completely outshone by the excellent Prince David Oseia, who plays Dembebe. This isn’t really too much of an issue though as the movie relies far more on the visual aspects than the dialogue.

The only other real issue I had with the movie was its inconsistency in some plot aspects. For example, one moment a character is screaming not to turn on the car headlamps for fear of attracting the undead, and then in the very next scene he is suggesting they should build a campfire.

Minor flaws aside, The Dead is without a doubt one of the strongest, and definitely the most beautiful, zombie flicks I have seen in quite some time. It’s well made, looks great and has a terrific score. The Ford Brothers don’t hold back on the blood and guts but they do give us characters we care about. I am also happy to report that the zombies here are of the slow variety, with none of that running around silliness.

If you are tired of zombie movies The Dead just could be the one that brings you back, from the dead. If you are always hungry for your next undead fix then I am sure you don’t need my recommendation in grabbing a copy of this as soon as you can.

The Dead is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment

1 comment:

Johnny p said...

great review once again Jude my man . cant wait to catch this one ...